Robert Whittaker returns against Jared Cannonier

Robert Whittaker, Khabib Nurmagomedov
Image via @ufc on Instagram

Robert Whittaker is headed back to the cage.

The former UFC middleweight champion will return to action opposite Jared Cannonier at UFC 248, which goes down on March 7 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The bout was announced by the UFC on Thursday evening.

Whittaker has not fought since October, when he succumbed two second-round punches from Israel Adesanya, surrendering the UFC middleweight title in the process. Prior to this, he rattled off two straight decision victories over Yoel Romero. The second of those wins occurred in a non-title fight, while the first earned him the interim middleweight title. He was promote to undisputed champion when the former champ Georges St-Pierre vacated his belt.

For Whittaker, this March return is right on schedule.

“I’m not looking to take a long time off,” Whittaker said on Grange TV shortly after he lost the title. “Obviously I have to give myself the appropriate amount of rest time for my brain, but I want to get back in there, and I want to just get back to work. If my health is all on point, on check, February, March next year. That’s not out of the ordinary. I think that would be good.”

“People may not know this, but I’ve lost before,” Whittaker added. “I’ve lost before, and I’ve came back better, and that’s exactly what I intend to do. I’m under no illusion that I was unbeatable; everybody can beat everybody on the given day, and I’m just going to lick my wounds, I’m going to get back on the mats on Monday, and I’m just going to start training again and try to just beat the next guy.”

Whittaker’s opponent Jared Cannonier, on the other hand, has looked more or less unstoppable since dropping down to middleweight. Since joining the 185-pound division, the former heavyweight has rattled off wins over former two-division World Series of Fighting champ David Branch, the legendary Anderson Silva, and most recently, highly regarded contender Jack Hermansson, who he defeated in the second round.

Who do you think will win this high-stakes middleweight bout between Robert Whittaker and Jared Cannonier.

This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 12/19/2019.